Tech Briefs

Software for Probabilistic Risk Reduction

A computer program implements a methodology, denoted probabilistic risk reduction, that is intended to aid in planning the development of complex software and/or hardware systems. This methodology integrates two complementary prior methodologies: (1) that of probabilistic risk assessment and (2) a risk-based planning methodology, implemented in a prior computer program known as Defect Detection and Prevention (DDP), in which multiple requirements and the beneficial effects of risk-mitigation actions are taken into account. The present methodology and the software are able to accommodate both process knowledge (notably of the efficacy of development practices) and product knowledge (notably of the logical structure of a system, the development of which one seeks to plan). Estimates of the costs and benefits of a planned development can be derived. Functional and non-functional aspects of software can be taken into account, and trades made among them. It becomes possible to optimize the planning process in the sense that it becomes possible to select the best suite of process steps and design choices to maximize the expectation of success while remaining within budget.

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SiC-Based Miniature High-Temperature Cantilever Anemometer

SiC-Based Miniature High-Temperature Cantilever Anemometer This compact, minimally intrusive sensor functions at temperature as high as 600 °C The figure depicts a miniature cantilever- type anemometer that has been developed as a prototype of compact, relatively nonintrusive anemometers that can function at temperatures up to 600 °C and that can be expected to be commercially mass-producible at low cost. The design of this anemometer, and especially the packaging aspect of the design, is intended to enable measurement of turbulence in the high-temperature, high-vibration environment of a turbine engine or in any similar environment.

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Inlet Housing for a Partial-Admission Turbine

Inlet Housing for a Partial-Admission Turbine The housing is shaped to smooth the inlet flow. An inlet housing for a partial-admission turbine has been designed to cause the inlet airflow to make a smooth transition from an open circular inlet to an inlet slot. The smooth flow is required for purposes of measuring inlet flow characteristics and maximizing the efficiency of the turbine.

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Passivating Stainless Steel Parts

Procedures for commonly used stainless steels can use citric or nitric acid solutions. Maximizing the natural corrosion resistance of parts and components machined from stainless steels. It can make the difference between satisfactory performance and premature failure. Incorrectly performed, passivation can actually induce corrosion.

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Laboratory Apparatus Generates Dual-Species Cold Atomic Beam

A pyramidal magneto-optical trap extracts atoms from one chamber into another. A laser cooling apparatus that generates a cold beam of rubidium and cesium atoms at low pressure has been constructed as one of several intermediate products of a continuing program of research on laser cooling and atomic physics. Laser-cooled atomic beams, which can have temperatures as low as a microkelvin, have been used in diverse applications that include measurements of fundamental constants, atomic clocks that realize the international standard unit of time, atom-wave interferometers, and experiments on Bose-Einstein condensation. The present apparatus is a prototype of one being evaluated for use in a proposed microgravitational experiment called the Quantum Interferometric Test of Equivalence (QuITE). In this experiment, interferometric measurements of cesium and rubidium atoms in free fall would be part of a test of Einstein’s equivalence principle. The present apparatus and its anticipated successors may also be useful in other experiments, in both microgravity and normal Earth gravity, in which there are requirements for dual-species atomic beams, low temperatures, and low pressures.

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Multispectral Scanner for Monitoring Plants

A multispectral scanner has been adapted to capture spectral images of living plants under various types of illumination for purposes of monitoring the health of, or monitoring the transfer of genes into, the plants. In a health-monitoring application, the plants are illuminated with full-spectrum visible and near infrared light and the scanner is used to acquire a reflected- light spectral signature known to be indicative of the health of the plants. In a gene-transfer-monitoring application, the plants are illuminated with blue or ultraviolet light and the scanner is used to capture fluorescence images from a green fluorescent protein (GFP) that is expressed as result of the gene transfer. The choice of wavelength of the illumination and the wavelength of the fluorescence to be monitored depends on the specific GFP.

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Brush/Fin Thermal Interfaces

High thermal conductance sliding interfaces can be achieved.Brush/fin thermal interfaces are being developed to increase heat-transfer efficiency and thereby enhance the thermal management of orbital replaceable units (ORUs) of electronic and other equipment aboard the International Space Station. Brush/fin thermal interfaces could also be used to increase heat-transfer efficiency in terrestrial electronic and power systems.

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